Finding tolerance can be hard between different cultures

By Sabrina Samra Source:Global Times Published: 2018/8/13 20:08:39

Illustration: Lu Ting/GT

So, should we judge foreigners based on the recent incidents of two foreigners scamming ATMs and getting caught or Jeremy Clarkson's video, where he rudely shames an equally rude and loud Chinese man?

In Clarkson's video, which went viral, a Chinese man talks extremely loudly on the phone on a train; meanwhile Clarkson thought it appropriate to mutter "shut up" under his breath in the video. While many foreigners supported his video, many didn't; and I'm certain many Chinese netizens were angered by this post.

This anger originates from Clarkson's rude and aggressive approach rather than telling the Chinese man to quiet down politely. Incidents like this indicate a lack of understanding of Western people toward Asian/Eastern parts of the world. A person who commented on Clarkson's post, in JobTubeDaily's article, accurately states that countries like China and India have different concepts of personal space and what is considered too loud. From my Indian perspective, I know that our languages are much louder and expressive than others.

It is true when That's Shanghai states that "A huge problem for east Asian nations has been dealing with people making lazy assumptions about all of them looking or being the same." As a British girl, I can honestly say many people in England often make this assumption - but I know we can do better.

Also recently, JobTubeDaily published about a foreigner being filmed abusing a salesperson to repair a 1-year-old shoe. Upon reading this story, it sounded as if the man was just taking advantage of the store by demanding such an absurd refund/repair. Even so, after abusing the salesperson, the foreigner was rewarded 200 yuan ($29.09). This demonstrates the obnoxious nature of some foreigners and the coincidingly compromising attitude of Chinese salespeople. However, I don't believe the majority of foreigners are so obnoxious. This was simply a human being acting badly, and we can all be bad.

Recently, unfortunate Chinese behavior toward a foreigner resulted in the death of an international student. After a disagreement, a young overseas student in Nanjing was attacked by a Chinese man, worrying many international students. All humans are capable of such atrocity, yet we should try and understand each other more, and most importantly, we should never resort to violence.

Usually, if you get past appearances, we genuinely are all equal, and through our actions we can create a dialogue and positive environment. All of us, Chinese and foreigners alike, need to focus on positive actions and behaviors.

But the news is not all bad. JobTubeDaily recently posted about French students volunteering to help fight flooding in Southwest China's Sichuan Province. The two foreigners have been studying at Shanghai University since February and were traveling; their voluntary support helped eight families fight against the flooding. This sort of humanitarian actions should not be neglected. The foreign travelers compromised some further travel to help out - this shows humanity in its best light!

Ultimately, foreigners and Chinese people alike are generally treating each other well, and then there are some isolated incidents of concerning behavior. But, I don't think this is a difference in ethnicity. Rather, it's just a human issue. If we all accept that we are equal as humans, then the problem will lessen. It is true that cultural differences can be apparent, especially between West and East, but it's only through dialogue and understanding that this will improve. That dialogue starts with you.

The opinions expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Global Times.


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